Benidorm Live at The New Theatre Cardiff: Review

By Kim Jones

Check in, take your seats and prepare to be transported to sunny Spain and the four star (or should that read three and a half star?!) Solana Hotel in glorious, brazen Benidorm!

This colourful, crazy show is a laugh-a-minute – packed with plenty of saucy innuendo, witty one-liners, music, dance and more.

Fans of the TV series  – which has sadly come to an end after a memorable decade –  were super-excited just at the sight of the Solana hotel’s famous reception depicted on the stage set before the show began. So when the theme music started playing and the familiar characters appeared on stage one by one – the cheers were deafening.

The story follows the staff at the Solana as they try to butter up a couple they’re convinced has been sent from head-office to spy on them.

In the process, we see Jake Canuso (Mateo) putting on some wonderful displays of greasy propositioning (as well as parading in an outrageous pair of budgie smugglers) plus some fantastic flamenco, which showed off the fact that he is a professionally trained dancer. Janine Duvitski plays the loveable, laughable shameless swinging Jacqueline perfectly and Adam Gillen (as Liam) lights up the stage with his endearing innocence (plus some athletic dance moves!).

Sherrie Hewson meanwhile totters around stage expertly as the ineffectual manager Joyce Temple-Savage and Shelley Longworth (Sam) shows off a rather beautiful singing voice alone with Asa Elliot, the TV show’s resident crooner at Neptune’s.

Tony Maudsley as Kenneth is an absolute triumph – he owns the stage. And the scene where he is unwillingly accosted by ‘Gay Derek’ (Damian Williams) is one of the most comical in the show.

It’s a non-stop night of belly-laughs. And we’d love to see more of the series both on tv and on stage (Hope you’re listening Derren Litten!). As Sam tells Liam when he says he’s thinking of leaving the sunny Spanish resort: “ If you’re tired of Benidorm you’re tired of life.” And we’re certainly not tired of Benidorm yet!

Benidorm Live is showing at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday 23rd February

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